How to not build in San Francisco: Maximus and the so-called ‘Monster in the Mission’

By Joe Eskenazi : missionlocal – excerpt

After several aggravating years and little progress, the aspirational developers of the so-called Monster in the Mission may be putting the ball in your court, city voters.

Late last year, after many moons of strife and harsh invective and dueling rallies and community mobilizations, a major development was erected on the 16th Street BART Plaza.

And there was much rejoicing. For it was a ping-pong table.

People do play. But it’s been raining something fierce of late. Perhaps a few men or women could take shelter beneath this sturdy table. This city is, after all, so lacking in places to stay.

Maximus Real Estate Partners — Rob Rosania, founder and “lead visionary” — would like to build housing on the plaza, an errant smash away from the ping pong table. Quite a lot of housing. But, after dropping some $42 million for this land, and investing years — and plenty more money — wrangling with any and all comers, the 1979 Mission St. project remains an ethereal watercolor… (more)

The Sierra Club and the luxury-housing developer

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

Northern Alameda chapter backs San Leandro project in a sign that the pro-growth forces are trying to take over the environmental group.

Are you a Sierra Club member who lives in Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Alameda, Piedmont or San Leandro? If so, you fall under the aegis of the club’s Northern Alameda County Group, which is nested within the larger Bay Chapter.

Be aware, then, that the NAC Executive Committee is currently dominated by a pro-growth coterie that’s exploiting the Sierra Club’s cachet to push a pro-development agenda that violates the club’s commitments to affordable housing, neighborhood integrity, and democratic governance.

If you’re a Sierra Club member who lives elsewhere in the Bay Area, you should also be concerned. The growth boosters on the NAC Ex Com include two men who wield considerable influence in the Bay Chapter, Igor Tregub and Andy Katz. Tregub also chairs the chapter Executive Committee. Both he and Katz sit on the Bay Chapter’s Political Committee, which makes the Sierra Club’s endorsements of political candidates and ballot measures. In the Bay Area, where the club claims nearly 60,000 members, and environmental values are widely embraced, Sierra Club endorsements carry a lot of weight. (UPDATE: Tregub tells me he has stepped down from the Political Committee, which only makes advisory recommendations on endorsements.)

This is an alarming trend for the club; already in San Francisco, Yimbys have tried to take over the local chapter (and so far failed). But the pro-development forces know that placing people on the boards of all-volunteer organizations is not that difficult. There’s little doubt that “smart growth” advocates are trying to shift the influential Sierra Club in their direction, locally and nationally(more)

San Francisco RE-ZONED!

SB 50 explained.

The good folks in Sacramento are back at it. They propose replacing our Planning Dept. by virtually eliminating local zoning!

SB 50 would allow buildings up to 8 or 9 stories, anywhere in SF! And virtually no backyard requirement, as well. It’s the return of SB 827 & 828. And developers can then add on the state density bonus for more height and less affordable inclusionary housing.

Yes, there is a housing & jobs crisis. Do you think Sacramento will fix the housing problem by legislation that frees developers without providing money for affordable housing and transportation?

And what about the CASA program and proposed massive regional enterprise?
Speakers Michael Barnes, economist, CASA critic, Albany city council member, and Ozzie Rohm, local housing advocate, will answer your questions and discuss what can be done.

Thursday, Feb 14, 7 to 9 pm
1833 Page Street/Cole Park Branch Library
Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council
Panel to Discuss CASA and SB 50
There will be a panel discussion on CASA and SB 50 at Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council this Thursday, Feb 14th starting at 7:00 pm.  Thanks to Tes, I’ve been asked to be on this panel. I will be sharing this with a knowledgeable activist from the East Bay, Michael Barnes.  He will cover CASA while I’ll go over SB 50.  The meeting is open to public.

Tuesday, Feb 19, 6:45 to 7:30 pm
1125 Fillmore Street Northern Police Station
Panel to Discuss CASA and SB 50
There will also be a panel discussion on the same topic at the next CSFN monthly meeting on Feb 19 starting from 6:45 pm.  The CSFN panel will be hosting Dennis Richards, Rick Hall, and Carlos Bocanegra from La Raza.  This meeting is also open to public… (more)

Slow approval process not only obstacle for city housing goals

By Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Plans for close to 45,000 potential homes are currently approved in San Francisco — the highest number tracked by The City’s Planning Department to date — but many of these projects have yet to break ground.

In an effort to speed up the development of affordable housing, last month Mayor London Breed announced that she plans to introduce a charter amendment for the November ballot that would take away the ability of residents to appeal affordable and teacher housing projects, though details remain unclear.

“No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more not in my neighborhood. It’s simple: Affordable housing as-of-right because housing affordability is a right,” said Breed.

But public disapproval and The City’s slow approval processes aren’t the only roadblocks to the construction of residential units in San Francisco. While land use entitlements — or approvals of a development plan — in theory should allow developers to proceed to financing and construction, for-profit projects can sometimes languish for years in the post-entitlement phase.

Constraints on financing and a growing trend of flipping entitlements are significant causes for delays, with some sponsors never intending to build. And many approved units are tied up in large, complex projects with slow, phased buildouts that can stretch over decades…(more)

This is a good article that covers some of the most obvious reasons for delays in building, Flipping empty properties is more lucrative than building, and combination of rising costs of financing, labor and and materials costs, has resulted in a slowdown in home sales, forcing more people onto the rental market.

The author fails to mention the shortage of labor that City Hall is largely responsible for. Construction contractors used to fill the PDR and light industrial buildings that were torn down to make room for high paid tech. Those displaced workers are not commuting to work in a city, where traffic and parking are a nightmare when they have plenty to do in their new homes outside the city.

Neighbors, activists vent about planned development at 16th, Mission streets

By J. K. Dineen : sfchronicle – excerpt (includes video)

Opponents of the proposed development at 16th and Mission streets delivered a blistering message to the San Francisco Planning Commission on Thursday night at Mission High School. Speaker after speaker ripped the project as a luxury complex that would worsen the displacement and gentrification that have become as synonymous with the neighborhood as burritos and murals… (more)

Planning Commissioners will continue to review the two alternatives. Maximus has threatened to bring the project to the voters if they do not get their plan approved.

 

SF Supervisor Ronen tries to reassure Mission tenants facing eviction over zoning

: sfchronicle – excerpt

San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen sought to reassure 50 apprehensive entrepreneurs Friday that she was doing her best to ensure they wouldn’t be forced out of the offices they’re renting inside ActivSpace, a multiuse building on 18th Street in the Mission District.

Potentially hundreds of ActivSpace tenants practicing a broad range of trades — everything from marriage counselors to hair stylists to tattoo artists — could be at risk of eviction because their businesses are out of step with the building’s zoning.

ActivSpace is zoned for production, distribution and repair work, considered “light industrial” activities and known as PDR. The tenants are concerned that they’re technically operating illegal businesses and would be forced to vacate…(more)

This explains why hundreds of artists have left the Mission.

Developer of long-delayed ‘Monster in the Mission’ apartments has new offer

By J. K. Dineen : sfchronicle – excerpt

locals2

Photo of the BART station at 16th and Mission by zrants

The developer of the long-delayed housing project at the 16th Street BART Station is prepared to use a ballot measure to gain approval if city officials don’t support the latest version of the plan.

Maximus Real Estate Partners, which has spent six years trying to build community support for a proposed 330-unit apartment complex at 1979 Mission St., dubbed the “Monster in the Mission” by its opponents, will present a new affordable-housing plan on Feb. 7 at a community meeting at Mission High School. Maximus calls it its “best and final” offer.

Under the new plan, presented to Supervisor Hillary Ronen in a recent meeting, Maximus would acquire two development sites in the Mission: 2675 Folsom St., which is approved for 117 units, and 2918 Mission St., a coin laundry whose owner successfully got the city to approve a 75-unit development after a long fight that included an appeal and a lawsuit. The sites would be handed over to the city for affordable housing, which Maximus would help finance… (more)